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Wood-Tikchik State Park

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Wood-Tikchik State Park

Location/Size: North of Bristol Bay between the Wood River Mountains and the Nushgak River. 1.6 million acres.

Main Activities: Fishing, hunting, boating, canoeing and kayaking, wilderness exploration, hiking.

Gateway Towns/Getting There: Dillingham/regular air service from Anchorage, possible boat access via Bristol Bay. Park access via the Wood River from Dillingham, via Lake Aleknagik from Aleknagik (road from Dillingham), jet boat shuttle, charter air drop-off.

Facilities, Camping, Lodging: No facilities. Five private lodges and several cabins are found on private land inclusions in the park. No drop-in services are available. Consult park headquarters for listings and reservation information. Primitive camping only.

Headquarters and Information: Headquarters (late May–late September), P.O. Box 3022, Dillingham, AK 99576, 842-2375; www.dnr.state.ak.us/parks/units/woodtik.htm. Headquarters (October–May 15), 3601 C Street, Suite 1200, Anchorage, AK 99503-5921, 269-8698.

Established in 1978, Wood-Tikchik is the largest state park in the nation. It features a series of long, deep "finger" lakes, their west ends nestled in deep valleys of the tundra-covered Wood River Mountains and their eastern shores along the Nushgak lowlands. The Wood River watershed drains the southern lakes while the Tikchik River and Nushagak River play the same role in the north. Powerboats are commonly used by fishers and hunters staying at the lodges on the southern lakes, while the wilder north offers greater challenge and solitude. The park is contiguous with the Togiak Wilderness of Togiak National Wildlife Refuge to the east.

Access is via Dillingham by air from Anchorage and Bethel. Floatplane shuttles drop you and your watercraft wherever you like. Most water travelers fly in and paddle out. Multiday floats in the south take the Wood River to Dillingham, avoiding the need for two flights. Northern trips require a lake or village pick-up—or a very long trip to Dillingham via the Nushagak. It’s possible to drive from Dillingham to Aleknagik to put in at Aleknagik Lake—though only the upper end of the lake is in the park and long upstream legs are needed to reach the other lakes.

A few park summits reach over 5,000 feet, though most are in the 2,000- to 3,000-foot range. Brown bears are seen throughout the park, while moose and black bear prefer the forest and brush of the lowlands.

Contact park rangers for information on the five private lodges in the park.